African American Business Leaders Partner with Fox for Initiative Offering 25,000+ Students FREE Admission to 'Hidden Figures' + More
Photo Credit: FOX

African American Business Leaders Partner with Fox for Initiative Offering 25,000+ Students FREE Admission to 'Hidden Figures' + More

20th Century Fox

New York City African American business leaders, in partnership with 20th Century Fox, Google, Facebook, Infor and AT&T, have launched an initiative to offer free admission to the critically-acclaimed feature, “Hidden Figures,” for over 25,000 students in New York.

New York schools are the first to benefit from the project. Like the 2015 project to screen Oscar-winner “Selma” – which reached 300,000 students across the country – the expectation is that other cities will join this significant program as it rolls out in theaters nationwide this weekend.

In addition, the screening program will educate students about the many contributions made by African Americans to science, technology, engineering, and math, and inspire more students to enter those fields. Charles Phillips, Chairman and CEO of Infor, William M. Lewis, Jr. Co-Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard, and Ken Chenault, Chairman and CEO of American Express, lead the group of African American business executives driving the opportunity (the full list of business leaders contributing to the initiative is below).

“On behalf of the African-American business community members involved today, I would like to thank the great organizations that have joined this effort,” said Ken Chenault. “‘Hidden Figures’ spotlights our unsung communities’ long lineage of shaping our nation. It serves as a wonderful opportunity to inspire the next generation to carry that torch forward.”

“I’m deeply moved that my work is being used to educate and inspire students in this way. Programs like this are vital to sharpening our collective memories and enlightening young people about their history and exciting them about their future,” said Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller nonfiction book ‘Hidden Figures,’ on which the film is based.

The New York Public School System has already signed up for 10,000 tickets. They have been joined by the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), Eagle Academy for Young Men, De La Salle Academy, Harlem School of the Arts, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, Harlem Children’s Zone, Harlem Village Academy and the East Harlem Tutorial Program. NY Public Library will assist with ticket distribution.

Dovetailing with this initiative, Google has announced that it will be inviting teenage girls and students to participate in a new online Made With Code project. Participants build an interactive graphic capturing the triumphant themes of the “Hidden Figures” movie. In partnership with AMC theatres and local school districts, Google will also be hosting coding workshops along with viewing parties of the movie, where students can watch and discuss the film, and learn introductory coding skills.

Dr. Linda Curtis-Bey, Executive Director of STEM, New York City Public Schools, said: “‘Hidden Figures’ provides an important platform from which teachers and students, especially girls, can engage in discussions about STEM, the role of women in the workplace and the contributions of African-Americans.”

In January 2015, New York City African American business leaders sponsored free tickets for schoolchildren to see the movie “Selma” – which retold Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The project eventually funded free screenings for more than 300,000 students across 28 cities. It resulted in expanded school curricula and special showings at the Abyssinian Baptist Church and other historically important venues.

New York City business leaders contributing to this year’s “Hidden Figures” initiative are:

Amsale Aberra and Neil Brown

Scott and Iva Mills

Gerald and Gwen Adolph

Steve and Beverly Mills

Bloomberg Diversity and Inclusion Team

Morgan Stanley African American Partners

Valentino D. Carlotti

Laurence Morse and Pamela McKoin

Tony Chase and Dina Alsowayel

Adebayo Ogunlesi and Dr. Amelia Quist-Ogunlesi

Ken and Kathryn Chenault

Clarence Otis and Jacqui Bradley

Dr. N. Anthony and Mrs. Robyn Coles

Deval and Diane Patrick

Edith Cooper and Robert Taylor

Luis R. Penalver and Elizabeth Davis

Frank Cooper and Nina Whittington-Cooper

Charles and Karen Phillips

Don and Saundra Cornwell

Jonelle Procope and Frederick O. Terrell

Ken and Andrea Frazier

Tamara Harris Robinson

Bruce Gordon and Tawana Tibbs

Marva Smalls

David and Tammye Jones

Jose Tavarez and Holly Phillips, MD.

Vernon Jordan

Reggie Van Lee

Debra Lee

Ted and Nina Wells

Bill Lewis and Carol Sutton Lewis

Greg and Michelle Weston

Edward and Carolyn Lewis

Anré and Paula Williams

Michael and Charise Littlejohn

Janice and Chris Williams

Tracy Maitland and Kimberly Hatchett

Deborah C. Wright

Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire

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